From the streets of Baltimore to Sesame Street, Kevin Clash has spent a lifetime Being Elmo | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

From the streets of Baltimore to Sesame Street, Kevin Clash has spent a lifetime Being Elmo 

Elmo and Kevin Clash in "Being Elmo"

Photo courtesy of Scott McDermott

Elmo and Kevin Clash in "Being Elmo"

Documentary filmmakers often choose to portray unpleasant topics as the ultimate "reality." Constance Marks' Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey is the complete opposite, a sunny doc about bringing joy and making dreams come true.

The subject of the film is an African-American puppeteer named Kevin Clash, who grew up poor in a disadvantaged section of Baltimore. But he had a single-minded passion: to be a Muppeteer. He began crafting his own pupperts from an early age and progressed to local TV and then to the national spotlight with Captain Kangaroo. Then he finally met his idol, Jim Henson.

Clash auditioned for the chance to embody a new Muppet soon to take center stage on the PBS juggernaut Sesame Street. This furry monster, called Elmo, was a perennial preschooler and would become one of the most popular characters on the long-running educational show. You might say Elmo was the ultimate in successful colorblind casting: The character transcends race, not black, white or brown, but universally red.

Being Elmo does elide the subject of Clash's personal life, but perhaps that is simply the too-common conflict between the demands of being in the spotlight and commitment to spouse and family. Clash himself is revealed on camera as a gentle soul, as kind as his alter ego. He is respectful and appreciative of the generous mentoring he received as a young man and clearly invests his time in passing the torch to a new generation of puppet performers.

At the Full Frame screening of the film earlier this year, Clash not only brought Elmo but stayed after the screening for more than an hour to allow fans to have their photo taken with the world-famous Muppet. Elmo is warm, curious and affectionate, seemingly a reflection of the talented artist who supplies his voice.

Tags:

Film Details

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Rated PG · 76 min. · 2011
Official Site: www.BeingElmo.com
Director: Constance Marks
Writer: Philip Shane and Justin Weinstein
Cast: Bill Barretta, Fran Bill, Kevin Clash, Joan Ganz Cooney, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosi O'Donnell, Frank Oz, Martin P. Robinson and Caroll Spinney

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

Who said the themes are wrath, cataclysm and redemption? Three Billboards may not be the brilliant film some think, but …

by Scott Mooneyham on The Tonally Incoherent Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Hasn't a Clue How to Manage Its Weighty Themes and Discordant Plot (Film Review)

I'd be more interested with different actors, but at least it's not a fucking super hero movie or squequel, so …

by terryboo on H.P. Lovecraft Meets Art House Cinema in the Odd, Ominous A Ghost Story (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Who said the themes are wrath, cataclysm and redemption? Three Billboards may not be the brilliant film some think, but …

by Scott Mooneyham on The Tonally Incoherent Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Hasn't a Clue How to Manage Its Weighty Themes and Discordant Plot (Film Review)

I'd be more interested with different actors, but at least it's not a fucking super hero movie or squequel, so …

by terryboo on H.P. Lovecraft Meets Art House Cinema in the Odd, Ominous A Ghost Story (Film Review)

Spiderman homecoming is the best spider man movie that I have seen yet https://goo.gl/jhKahk

by Hazel Gomez on Spider-Man: Homecoming Makes a Fifty-Five-Year-Old Hero Feel Like a Kid Again (Film Review)

I was born and raised in Bertie County, and believe me, this was painful and beautiful to watch. I was …

by Tar Heels forever on Know More About Manhattan Than Your Embattled Neighbors in Rural North Carolina? Then See Raising Bertie. (Film Review)

Clint's film is trashy? maybe that's why all of us pigs would like to wallow in it.

by Jovana Dimitrijevic on In Her Remake of Clint Eastwood's Lurid, Trashy The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola Probes Deeper Rhythms (Film Review)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation